Thursday, 3 October 2013

Bouts rimés - Deez Rhymes iz Raw

Photo by Chris Blakely


Noun phrase plural. Early 18th century.
[French = rhymed endings.]

Rhyming words upon which verses are (to be) composed.

Bouts rimés is the game of hardcore poets. We're not talking namby-pamby, wandering lonely as a whatever type poets - we're talking the real OG. These are the sort of ghetto rhymesters that can clean kill a man in the morning with a flurry of the pen, woo a lady by lunch with a sensual sonnet, and still be home in time to write a bawdy tit-and-bum limerick for his homies by supper (and all this with a few couplets to spare). In short, if you're gonna step up to try your hand at bouts rimés, you'd better be armed with the rawest rhymes and sickest stanzas.

The rules are simple: the poet is given a set of rhyming words from which he must compose a poem (if you don't dig rhyming poetry, this really isn't your scene). The words given must be used at the end of each line, and they must be used in that order. Finally, the poem must make at least a modicum of sense - there's to be no Edward Lear type tomfoolery here. To demonstrate, earlier my wife gave me a set of words which were: play, fat, day, bat, distress, multiply, press, fly. So here we go:

Little Bobby didn't like rough play
(the other kids all said he was fat)
Until he lost his cool one day
And turned up to school with a bat
It caused such horror and distress
The fear did multiply
"I don't understand," he said to the press
"My pet bat wouldn't hurt a fly."

Yes. Umm. So I said it only has to be make a semblance of sense, right? I'm sure I said that. Look - it was my first time and I wanted it to be authentic. OK - I admit it. I'm not a hardcore poet. I've tried to move in their circles, but ... nah ... I had to get out while I could. Anyway, if you'd like to have a go, I'll drop some words. The first person writes a poem, and then can leave a new set of words for anyone else who wants to have a crack at it. So:

keyboard, snoring, floored, boring, under, wilted, thunder, quilted

Don't forget to leave a new set for the next person (and it doesn't have to follow that rhyme pattern).

Of course, if you'd just like to leave a comment, you can do that too, ya big spoilsport.


  1. Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Ed's good at poetry
    But I can't rhyme that well and my poems betray a serious lack of any sense of rhythm.


  2. But I'll have a go for a giggle...

    She sits alert at her keyboard
    Her husband laid out snoring
    Should she have the bathroom floored?
    Or is the subject boring?

    He may as well be six foot under
    His zest for life has wilted
    She prays for dancing, fun or thunder
    Should they switch to triple-quilted?

    Shirt, flirt, pink, sink, itch, stitch, wind, pinned.


    1. Beautiful. It's sad and restless in a sad, restless kind of way.

    2. I was going for pensive and pointless but I'll gladly take sad and restless.

  3. I've lost my pants, lost my shirt,
    What started out as a casual flirt,
    My face is red, my cheeks are pink,
    The view has caused my heart to sink,
    O the redness, O the itch,
    It's gotta come off, can't wear a stitch,
    What a lovely breeze, such gentle wind,
    Can't leave the house, looks like I'm pinned.

    Not the greatest from a lyrical point of view but these phat lines
    mean a lot to me and my homies as it's a true story yeah?
    Ok hardcore ghetto lexicographers: Cower, Park, Power, Dark,
    Learn, Fast, Turn, Last.

    1. Such conflict, yet with the glimmer of resolution. I'm moved - honestly I am.

    2. Ed don't patronize him. It was truly awful gansta nerd - go away and work on your hustle for a bit. You could have baked a delicately poignant word-pie with the ingredients I provided you with but you squandered your opportunity. Officially the worst use of 'itch' in a poem ever.

      I wish I had a daughter so I could forbid her to marry you.

      -clueless, glad the great bard is dead so he'll never have to read you awful poem.

    3. Let's not have a repeat of 'boobs' please gentlemen.

      C - everyone gets a turn, and that was Gangsta Nerd's, so just settle down please.

      As for daughters, I do happen to have one, and you're both banned from marrying her. I hope you're satisfied.

    4. Sorry ed, but poetry is such a fragile thing, so close to my heart.

      Before I submitted my offering, I took the trouble of asking this guru I know, from the Gujarat, who's, like, just completely spiritual, and he said my poem was 'an ocean of wisdom.' I just don't think Gangsta went to the same trouble......

      Admittedly, my Gujarati is fairly rusty, and I've heard the words 'ocean' and 'sack' are rather similar, as are the words 'wisdom' and 'donkey-dribble.'


      (Fine! I admit it. Gangsta's poem was better. I'm not playing any more. I'll be in my boudoir)

  4. Heres my laughable attempt that wasted plenty of ink and, peices of paper that are literally illegable now, with scribbles and lines through out:
    I only ever cower,
    When i dream of the park,
    As the force of power,
    Made me stay until Dark,
    But i did learn,
    Never to go so fast,
    On a ride that does turn,
    In case again i am again left last

    Hopefully who evers next will be able to create a better poem with these words:
    Craft, Age, Laughed, Stage, Travels, Week, Unravels, Bleak
    To be honest it was harder trying to make up rhyming words then to do the poem.

    1. Thank you, Kee. Such delicate contrasts between light and dark, power and weakness, speed and torpor. Incredible ...

  5. Take note Gangsta Nerd - THAT was poetry.

    (Kee Bee - watch your back, I think you're on Gangsta Nerd's turf n' he represen'in' pain)

    -c, in the hood but probably shouldn't be.

    1. I know, I know. Poetry and boobs bring out the worst in me.

      (That's probably why I didn't get the part when I auditioned for the lead in 'Dolly Parton The Musical')


  6. I apologize in advance for my little poem. It's really bad.

    "I'll demostrate my craft"
    He said despite his age
    But the spectators laughed
    "Quick, get off the stage"
    He thought about his travels
    What an exhausting week
    His plan fast unravels
    And the future's bleak.

    Night, face, light, lace, burn, mirth, learn, birth

    1. The bitterness of rejection, the ups and downs of a life on the stage; definitive yet ambiguous. Breathtaking ...

    2. hahaha! By the way I like the new look. Με γεια!

    3. Why thank you! I did spend all morning on it (I'm a bit slow at that sort of thing) so I'm chuffed someone noticed.

    4. I noticed it straight away as it's much easier on these old eyes!
      Well done sir!

      I'm enjoying reading everybody's poems too!

    5. Thank you all. And yes - the poems are fine indeed, aren't they?

  7. Good afternoon Bloggers and welcome to my Craft,
    I admit when I read your poems, I Laughed.
    In 1985 I was five years of Age,
    It was obvious from then that this was my Stage.
    Like a slow boat to china your poem Unravels,
    Wanna be poets like you I've met in my Travels.
    The critics say your future in poetry looks very Bleak,
    Don't worry lads, I'm here all week!

    1. Mr T1 - welcome back! It's been a while. Although, now that you're back, I must immediately disqualify you for changing the rhyme order. Bouts rimés are brutal, dawg.

  8. This might be my favourite post you have ever done, Ed!

    Here is my attempt. I must say that rhythm is not necessarily my strong suit either. Humour is a bit out of my reach as well haha.
    Using Evi's words:

    Lost in flickering shadows of scarred night
    streaks of sorrow line his fractured face.
    Faltering footsteps seek an elusive light
    as mind recalls elegant garments of lace.
    Obscuring fire – an eternal burn –
    screams a solemn mirth.
    Lost all hope to ever learn
    seeking demise in fire’s new birth.

    Words for the next one...

    Storm, bitter, swarm, glitter, eclipse, dread, whips, thread

    1. Wow Kara! That's truly amazing!

    2. You make me blush., Evi. You are too kind!

    3. Kara Braun in da house everybody! You are the bouts rimés OG! If this was a competition, you'd have won the Lexicolatry t-shirt (if every Lexi makes t-shirts, you'll be getting one).

      I really, really enjoyed that. Thank you.

    4. Thank you, Ed. That means a lot. I will keep your promise of a t-shirt in mind and entrust you to keep your word if you ever make them haha.

      Also, I wasn't sure what you meant by OG, as I've never heard that abbreviation here before. I googled it and came up with officer of the guard and original gangster. I suppose I'm alright with either one haha ;).

  9. Kara, that was truly awful and I can't believe anyone would......

    ...nope. If I couldn't pull it off with gangsta's I definitely can't pull it off with yours.

    Do you write Kara, as well as being a teacher?


    1. Why thank you haha.

      I write but have yet to try being published, though that is a dream actually. I think I am too scared to try and wouldn't know what to do haha. I hope to someday.
      I may have to try this as a writing activity with my students!

    2. I recently heard a published writer say that only difference between an amateur and a professional is that a professional finishes what he is writing. I suppose it does take a bit of courage to take that first step, to write knowing others will read.


    3. Yeah - lots of writers say it's more about hard work than talent which I can believe. But if you're willing to work hard and you have talent too (Kara), all the better for it.

      And Kara - if you do this with your students, will you write a blog post about it? Or at least let us know how it went? I'd be really interested.

  10. Dances free in a fierce storm,
    Not fearing, seeing, tasting bitter,
    Drifting away from the painful swarm,
    Fills his glass with celestial glitter.
    Temporary eclipse,
    Impending dread,
    Life's cruel whips,
    Fray this tenuous thread.